With the additional lower-cost ethane available in North America, relative to naphtha and other liquid feeds, steam crackers in North America are running these lighter feed slates to produce ethylene at a significant cost advantage, Lachenmyer said.
“In the last decade, new integrated refining-chemical complexes, principally in Asia or the Middle East, have tapped into labor and logistical advantages,” she noted. “Today unconventional gas growth in North America is providing the next major source of advantage via affordable energy and feedstock from natural gas and ethane. For the first time in a decade, producers in North America have announced expansions in the form of debottlenecks and new steam crackers.”
ExxonMobil Chemical has filed permit applications for a petrochemical expansion at its Baytown Olefins Plant in Texas where it plans to add an ethane cracker. The company also plans to add premium polyethylene facilities at the nearby Mont Belvieu Plastics Plant. It will make a final investment decision following completion of these reviews and approvals.
If developed, it is estimated that the project would create about 10,000 construction jobs and about 350 permanent jobs would be added to the company’s workforce of 6,500 the Baytown area. The proposed project would also have a multiplier effect and create an additional 3,700 jobs in the local community.“The proposed investment reflects ExxonMobil’s continued confidence in the natural-gas driven revitalization of the U.S. chemical industry,” Lachenmyer said. “The natural gas revolution in the U.S., driven by industry innovation, is enabling U.S. chemical manufacturers such as ExxonMobil to invest in North America, create thousands of U.S. jobs and increase sales to domestic and global markets.” About ExxonMobil Chemical ExxonMobil Chemical is one of the world’s premier petrochemical companies with manufacturing, technology, and marketing operations around the world. The company delivers a broad portfolio of products and solutions efficiently and responsibly, with a commitment to create outstanding customer and shareholder value. ExxonMobil Chemical endorses the principles of sustainable development, including the need to balance economic growth, social development and environmental considerations.